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nerd. he liked the technological toys of the west. he was in touch with the syrian population. he certainly was not a lackey of the united states, and israel. in fact he was supported of hezbollah, amass, iran, and other groups and states, that had a lot of street credibility in the arab world. so they thought it would pass them over. in fact i know that president bashar had mentioned -- commissioned three studies in february and march before the uprising broke out, and all three said, no, it's not going to happen in syria. so he felt pretty confident. i know for -- i can guarantee you that he was absolutely shocked when the uprising really started to seep into syria, particularly, of course, what lit the fire was the arrest and roughing up of the 15 school age children, teenagers, in the southern city of duras in syria. that touched a nerve. that sort of thing happened in syria quite a bit over the years, but in the new circumstances of the arab spring, and the regime didn't under the new circumstances -- it just grew and grew and grew after that. and it unleashed -- i think this
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